I’m sitting outside of the Bakery at Cakes and Ale in Downtown Decatur, sipping coffee and doing a bit of writing, but I stopped to post a quick thought or two.
I like sitting outside of cafes; it allows for more intimate, natural observation of how a place works, the ebb and flow of the people, the sounds that set each place apart. In Decatur, it’s easy to be distracted watching and listening to all of the people passing by. You can just hear and learn so much from seemingly so little.
This city is almost always bustling, no matter the time of day, but it truly comes alive at night. On a Friday night like tonight, it is inundated with people who have never been here; the uninitiated. Many of them seem surprised, confused even, by the design of Decatur, by the small shops and cafés, even by the notion of walking around the block, leaving their cars behind.
I forget sometimes, being a local, of how foreign the feel of Decatur is for many in Atlanta. It’s abundantly apparent, even from my seat on the street, just how many for whom this is a novel experience. More striking than their novelty is their enjoyment. I’ve heard Decatur compared to California, Europe, even Key West just in the hour I’ve sat here.
This enjoyment is exactly what most cities, suburbs, and towns hope to emulate. Be it modern mixed-use developments or town center transformations, generating that happiness that separates a place from just another public space, and doing so as organically as Decatur does, is the end goal.
In the next week, I’ll be exploring some of these developments throughout Atlanta (read: Combined Statistical Area of Metropolitan Atlanta Region) and reporting my honest thoughts and impressions back to you. There are a lot of exciting things in store for this city. Let’s go explore them together, shall we?